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Living, loving, Laughing and Travelling as much as possible. Come along and join in my life and travels - I'll be happy to have you there with me.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hello again

Thank goodness for freezers and leftovers:)

Sunday afternoon it was cool and wet (to me it was more like freezing) when we arrived home so I had a little look for something easy but warming to cook and hey presto lurking on the bottom shelf was a container of some very tasty savoury mince. I found a packet of frozen veg there (emergency supplies) and along with some mashed potato we were able to have a meal on the table without too much hassle.

To have that break this past week was just what I needed and we enjoyed every minute we were away. Leaving really early on Wednesday meant it was an easy drive over taking the Western and Duke Highways, no silly ‘so n sos’ on the road or many trucks to have to contend with and we arrived quite relaxed in the afternoon.

The temperature in Melbourne had dropped a few days before going and all I wanted to see was the sunshine South Australia is famous for. As the forecast for Thursday was sunny, dry and warm (27c/81f) the 2 men went off for a round of golf at a local course and we 2 girls tootled off to Glenelg for some shopping.

My DF and husband are what we call Grey Nomads, which means they spend a lot of the southern winter travelling in their caravan up north in Queensland so she wanted a new cossie and knew a very good swimwear shop in Jetty Road who just happened to have a SALE on :)

With the really good reductions she was able to pick up a bargain.............my bargains came later.................from the Op Shop tucked away in a church hall:)

A very nice pair of shorts $2 and 3 books 20c each – timely as I was looking for things to wear later in the year if we decide to go to Cairns and now I have some new reading material 'cose I finished my last book on drive home.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilchers
Windfalls by Jean Hegland
Small Island by Andrea Levy

After we'd walked up and down the street it was coffee time and then my friend humoured me by letting me walk along the forshore looking at the camels (I kid you not) not donkeys they have for rides in front of the Grand. Sorry didn't have camera with me so you'll just have to click on the link for proof:)
She then let me wander along the sands and wade in the shallow - I'll not be doing that for a while as Autumn and in some places Winter has has arrived. Record lows temps for April in lots of places and the cold snap has the alpine ski resorts rubbing their hands with glee 'cose they have had some dumps - yes, little ones - but there is all that white stuff covering their runs and preparing the ground for later when hopefully it will come down and settle.
We met up with the men, listened to their their tales of woe, and then had lunch at the Dublin near the beach. Home for a quiet afternoon snooze and general chit chat before a lovely roast Leg of Lamb and veggies along with Apple Crumble for dinner .
I enjoy friends like that, doesn't matter how long since we've seen each other we are comfortable whether its noisy or quiet.
Anyway Friday was taken up renewing friendships in DH's RAF group, The Anzac DayMarch from the War Memorial and then a BBQ in the afternoon so it was a subdued evening with the 4 of us sitting reading and just talking about the day.
Saturday the group all met for lunch at the Port Dock Hotel where they also brew beers on a small scale. Had a tour of the working area also down in the cellars which actually used to be at ground level in years gone by
Hope you can read the info on this picture taken in the cellars

Home now and ready to meet life head on after a break to commemorate this special time for many Australian servicemen and their conterparts from other nations.

Monday, April 21, 2008


One thing I like to do is read. I read lots. As we all know books are not cheap, even from second hand bookshops they still cost.

They clog up the bookshelves and we have to have a cull now and again so our local library is great, free and the books go back.
I can spend hours there and come out happy - 'cept for the crick in the neck I get from reading titles on shelves sideways on.

A couple of groups I belong to have a Book on the Table concept. Books are put on the table on meeting days for anyone to read and sometimes I can find an interesting one there.

The place I go to in Malvern has a small library - staff bring in books and there is a semi formal recording system that works well - name of book and owner, then columns for who borrows along with out and in dates.

A couple of years ago we discovered a place in Collingwood that sells discount books - Dirt Cheap

Its a huge warehouse type place with oodles of books of all shapes and sizes. Fiction, non fiction, childrens you name it more than likely its there.
Do you know the beauty of this place - all the books are brand new and cost only $4.99. Many are remainders but often there will be late releases as well.

Its only open Sat and Sunday and just occasionally if we have a spare $20 ( 2 books each) and our free Sunday transport card we can have a great day for a reasonable cost. I then pass them on to friends and so the circle turns

One of my latest purchases was the one above. Tell me your secret by Deirdre Purcell

We are off to Adelaide on Wednesday morning for a few days and this will be going along with me for the 10 hour journey - along with my knitting of course:)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

For many years I had to think about the cost of food I bought and looked very hard at cost per 100gms to see if I could get a bargain.

Then ageing brought along various problems that meant I had to look at the ingredients as well.

We had the ‘Buy Australia’ promotions and I know that this has happened in most countries around the world trying to support their own companies and workers; now for environmental reasons we look at food miles as well and also look for locally grown – as in our own suburb or close by - foods.

Boy does my head reel at the thought of shopping these days.

I haven’t had access to home grown citrus fruit this year to make marmalade and we are partial to Marmalade on our toast sometimes so I had that on the shopping list the other day.

This is the conundrum I was faced with that day.

Scotch Marmalade
600gm cost $2.50


Saturated……. <1gm


Sodium (Salt)…35mg

Main Ingredients in order
Different Fruits
Vegetable gum (Pectin)
Food Acids

Made in Australia using local and imported fruit

Breakfast Marmalade
680gm cost $2.35

Energy 100gm 1090Kj

Fat Total…………….<1gm


Sodium (Salt)…….5mg

Main Ingredients in order
Glucose syrup (Wheat)
Food acid
Vegetable gum

Made in Poland

Dh laughed at my predicament and told me what to do. I shrugged my shoulders and bought a jar of each - his 2 way bet.

You win some you lose some - Ones as good as the other he said

Still not sure if he is right or not

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heres the joke I mentioned

Last October, for her birthday, I bought my wife a Magnolia tree from the local nursery, but after only a few weeks the leaves shrivelled.

It appeared to be on its last legs.

My wife took some leaf samples and marched into the nursery to demand an explanation.

I stood back, expecting a technical explanation, which only my 'expert' wife could understand.

"I know exactly what's wrong with your magnolia," said the Manager.

"Good," said my wife. "What's it suffering from?"

"Autumn," he replied ... (I smirked to myself all the way home in the car!)

Well I thought it was funny.

At long last

He's finally finished.
Its taken a while but this little bear is finally finished.
I started him about this time last year at a class with Heather Harwood and somehow he never got finished off.
For a long time all he needed was a nose and to have his ears sewn on.
The nose never seemed to be right and was undone so many times I found I could only do it outside in the bright sunshine.
I was reminded of his state when I took things from the bedroom the other week and gave myself a talking to about all the UFOs I had around the place.
So last night he was finally finished off.
For a few years bear making was all I did. No other handcraft seemed to hold my attention. I sewed them all by hand as using a machine just didn't seem right. It was during an unhappy time of my life and I spent a fortune on Mohair, stuffing, joints and glass eyes making loads of them and then giving them all away as gifts.
I have kept the first one I made and another but no others.
It had been a while since then so when I saw this class advertised I booked in and even tho it was graded as beginners and I knew what I was doing it was nice to listen to a fresh voice talking about the craft and hearing new ideas on finishing tecniques
This little one will stay and maybe it will rekindle my interest in something I really enjoyed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A day in my life - April 14th 2008

I've decided that once again that I will take part with Jenny over at Little Jenny Wren in her 'A Day in My Life' project so here we are again. One month on. April 14th 2008.

I woke as usual at 6.30am and lay there for a while 'cose I'd slept heavily and felt a bit thick in the head. No comments please :) My own fault as I was reading till late in the evening.

This is what have been reading

I picked Hazel's Journey up at the library and have found it so easy to read and so hard to put down.

Hazel Hawke was the wife of one of our Australlian Prime Ministers who worked for many causes and generally was liked by all who knew her. She and Mr Hawke were divorced some time after he retired from politics.

I can see so much in this book that relates to my aunt and know what Hazel Hawkes family were going through at the time. Its a while since we heard anything about her so don't know what stage of the disease she is at now.

Am looking forward to some quiet time to sit down and read some more. Also managed to get a library copy of Nella Last's War so have that to look forward to also.

Finally got up, put the kettle on and thought it's a bit cool here this morning so nipped back for dressing gown and slippers while the kettle boiled.

Took our tea back to bed and listened to Red Symons (ABC 77.4 breakfast presenter) riding round the city in a horse and carriage as a promotion for the radio station's 20/20 summit. Melbourne's Vision for the Future was going to be held in one of the chambers at State Parliament during the day and he will do anything for a laugh so was going to be the Red Rod (not Black Rod) and open the days proceedings.

Dh then put the TV on - not a daily occurence in our house as we don't watch the morning progammes - but there was golf on so I didn't say anything. Left him watching the US Masters and popped out to let the cats out.

Didn't get much reaction from them - they looked at me and snuggled back down into their beds with a look that said 'Don't you know its cool out there'

The weather man had said cool and a quick glance at the thermometer told me the same thing -10c/ 50f but then I remembered he'd also said going up to 20c/68f so all was not lost. It could turn out nice after all.

Porridge for breakfast and then a quick shower, checked emails while drying off and enjoying another cuppa. Was going to Malvern this morning so couldn't hang around too long. However passing throught the lounge room while there were ads on the TV I noticed (well the set I saw) were geared towards men. Not sure why as I know women play and watch golf as well!

Anyway there was one for men's hair colouring - the girl gave him so much more attention when his hair was darker! - another had a very nice looking young business man using a a mobile phone that took really fabulous pictures - or so the the girl who received them thought! She also had a very successful look about her - and then the third was for golf clubs - not just any golf clubs but what loooked like very expensive ones and they certainly made a difference to the man playing with them!
Hmmm - What can we read into these?

Getting dressed at 8am I heard the high school bus go by and mentally said Hello to the grandaughter who would be getting on at the end of the street and thought I must see how they are all settling down now the new school term has started.

Pottered about gathering dishes into sink (DH said he'd do them if he remembered) and fiddled about with all those little morning chores. Bed made, rooms tidyish, clothes in wash basket.

Out the door at 9am.
Part of my journey took me down Liverpool Road driving almost parallel with the hills (Dandenongs) and it was strange to see horses agisted down there all rugged up and not looking very happy, even though they have shelters I imagine its a bit miserable being in the cold overnight. Couldn't see along the top of the hills as they were clothed in low cloud.

I also noticed a lot of the deciduous trees have been turning and colouring over the past couple of weeks now the length of the days are shorter and the temps have got cooler. Autumn is here and they will be dropping their leaves soon - that reminds me of joke I'll try to write down tomorrow.
By the time I got as far as Glen Waverley the sky was looking very black, the mist had turned to rain and I could see it was cool out there. People walking along the street had windcheaters and coats on - not used to this change in temps - and yet when you think about it, it really isn't cold at all.
Got all my bits done in Malvern and then drove home the same way. The sky over the eastern suburbs looked better than the one I watched driving west earlier in the day. I could see sunshine and no black clouds - good in one way but as we need that rain bad in another.

Home about 12.30pm and after a nice cup of tea and a ham sandwich for lunch I then spent part of the afternoon moving more books back into the house.

It seems as tho we we've been doing this for ever - not just a few days.

Having the work done (carpet laid) couldn't have come at a better time as we have carted books interstate as well as all over the world and this cull is so necessary. This time I'm being strict - do we need it, does it bring us pleasure, what memories will we get from having it, will the children want it, do they want it now (please take it if you want it) can someone else gain anything by having it.
The GD who stayed here over the weekend went home with cat books and a big grin on her face. Some of them belonged to her Mother - they came back to our house after her previous marriage breakdown and so it goes on.

Whinge here - why do children think we will store for them indefinitely? Is it because they know we just won't deny them anything? Or is it because they don't want all that stuff in their own homes?

I hate sorting and giving away books and need another person there to make decisions with me as I usually end up getting sidetracked, opening them, reading and remembering things about the times we received and used them.

I remember years ago in England when I was young my Mother used to complain when she asked me to clean out the fire grate and set the fire ready to light, she'd come in and find me on the floor, leaning on my elbows, bum in the air reading the newspaper instead of scrunching it up to lay the sticks on. I hated doing that job and it was one way of putting it off:))

Spent some of this time sorting out lots of text books from past schooling - mine and DH - (so many could be very out of date) so have been thinking of putting them in op shops for those hunting on the off chance. I glanced at a chapter in one called Introduction to Management Accounting, used for a management course I did years (maybe 20?)ago and I hadn't the foggiest idea what they were talking about.

*Specify the limiting assumptions that underlie cost-volume analysis*

Any ideas? I must have known then but I certainly don't now :))

About 4pm I gave up - DH arrived home from the golf course and I picked up my knitting.

My turn to prepare and cook so I did the veggies before sitting down with my needles. In the end I sewed up a pair of slippers to take over to Adelaide later this month as a thank you gift. I mixed a tweedy pink with her favourite red pink and I think she will really like the combination.

So here it is about 7.30pm.

Dishes are finally done - including the ones from this morning -and at the moment I don't fancy anything on TV.

It hasn't been a testing day, the traffic was normal with no hold ups, it hasn't been a 'busy' day, just one that flowed from one thing to another so knitting this evening will round out this peaceful day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

She never ceases to amaze me

Its amazing when you have a new sort of respect for one of your children.

One of these smiling young ladies is my DD - the one in the blue running skirt - and they have just achieved their goal.

This is the girl who not long ago would give up if the going got too tough.

They walked/ran 100kms - 62.1371miles in 20hrs 49 mins raising over $2000 for Oxfam.

This is what they said: -
Oxfam TRAILWALKER is a 100km endurance walk through the Australian bush. We are taking this on to raise money for Oxfam Australia who work to fight poverty and injustice in 26 countries around the world, including Indigenous Australia

They plodded on through the lovely day we had yesterday and then through the night to arrive at the last check about 5am this morning.
Don't you love the nifty head torches they wear for night running :)

I hope to get a photo from the last check in point soon - Congratulations to my 45 year old DD and her friends.
They did well!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Have been making big decisions this evening – accompanied by one very lively granddaughter (only child).

Had to Babysit overnight last night and also tonight as Father has to work and Mother is busy with something else - more of that later.

Question - Do we watch the 7pm News or Biggest Loser and then the Simpsons or a doco on Cesar Ritz?

Its obvious which programmes she wanted to watch and which ones I wanted to see but I thought we could compromise and she could potter around at 7pm and I’d clear up the kitchen at 7.30pm

Conversation went like this –

GD - Grandma we don’t have to discuss this at all.
Me - Why do you say that?
GD - We can both have what we want.
Me - How is that going to happen?
GD - Well, you do know there are 2 TVs in this house.
Me - What’s that got to do with it?
GD – Well you can stay in the Lounge room and I’ll go into the bedroom.
Me – But we won’t be together then.
GD – That doesn’t matter, I can get what I want that way.

Big discussion on togetherness and sharing and then Grandad came in from another room and threatened to turn the TV off if we didn’t agree – so we both sulked and played a game of dominoes instead!!

Football is on now so we are both watching and cheering for the same team:)

Her Mother is taking part in the Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalker Event – Walk or Run 100kms in 48hrs. Started this morning and her team of 4 have decided to take meal break at a couple of check ins and not sleep as some of the teams will do. At the moment (9.30pm) they are 73rd out of 650 so not doing too bad.

We went up to Silvan (15mins drive a way) earlier this evening when they had a meal break and they were in fine form. They'd walked over 50kms at theat point but there was still a long way to go and a few more hills to go up as well. Hopefully they will get there all in one piece.

Will know in the morning when she rings to say they arrived - they are fun lot, in the the big boxes of provisions their support crew are taking to the various check ins is a large bottle of champagne and lovely long stemmed glasses to toast themselves and their achievement.

Good on 'em at least they are giving it a go:))

Must mention that DD (theMother) and her friends are dedicated runners, not just some girls who just fancied something to do for a lark.
They are entered in the Gold Coast Marathon soon so this is part of their training for that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trying to get things back to normal

Hello there. It’s a lovely sunny morning here in Melbourne and there’s a lot to be done.

Little bit of disorganisation round here at the moment as most of my time recently was taken up with emptying cupboards and moving things off bookshelves and out to the garage so the carpet layers would be able to handle furniture without damaging their backs.

It was a big job to do the whole of the house and took the best part of a day but it’s finished and everything that just happened now has to be reversed :(

The house is looking quite nice and calm without all the accessories around about so I am having a good look at what was there before and have decided that not all this ‘stuff’ nice as it is is going to come back in the door

Even though I say there’s a peaceful feel to the house its obvious very quickly that it has a bit of an empty bare look but I am being very selective in what is being retrieved and put back inside, at the moment it’s just enough to allow the house to become our home again.

There are a few bags of 'stuff' gathering at the back door and a box of books as well but I’m not going to chuck just for the sake of it ‘cose knowing me I may decide I really liked the look we had before :)

I always feel so much lighter when I have a decluttering session and I know others have had similar feelings

Ariane wrote about these feelings a while ago in her Neat and Simple Blog (which really is a good read) and also Lightening (who covers many interesting topics) mentioned it.

So it's Bye for now, must fly, things to do :))

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One Day in April

Here in Melbourne we talk about that One Day in September - it refers to the day the Grand Final of Australian Rules football is played.
Here in my house we have a One Day in April - April 8th to be precise.

Thats the day Dh and I got married - oh what a day that was - in 1961

47 years ago - wow - we look so young don't we.
Well, I was 18 and DH 22 so we were very young by todays standards.

Unfortnately there isn't time for another 47 years but theres an awful lot of living still to happen in how ever many more years there are together :))

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Better day today

Yesterday was an awful day. Read all about it here and here

Gale force winds reaching over 100kms in some places - not sure what they got up to at my place but it was deafening and scary.

Lots of trees down. Power lines down meaning no power to a great deal of the state.

Traffic lights out causing chaos for the city, trees down over rail lines, power loss meant no trams running so many many workers not getting home till all hours of the night.

I don't feel so bad about my power going on and off all day long as there are still some without over 24hrs later.

Sad thing is 3 lives have been lost - a brick wall fell on one person, a steel construction fell over on to a workerr on a building site and then today some young linesman was electrocuted while repair power lines.

Weird sights on the beaches this morning as yachts have been smashed around in the bay.

Its made its way south east of Melbourne now and down to Tassie.

You never know what nature is going to throw at you do you?

A tricky subject

I don’t normally talk money to people, not even close friends but one of them asked me the other day how we managed to afford to do the things we do as she was finding it very hard to make ends meet and we never seemed to be short.

So I told her that over the past few years I’ve found there are two things I don’t mind about being a Senior – that is aged over 60.

Shhhhhhhhhh……………. Don’t tell anyone about that last statement I made :)

One is the Senior’s card our state government provides for anyone over the age of 60. This can be used to obtain a discount at lots of different places and can come in handy when you are making purchases large or small, as that 10% saved is better in my pocket than theirs.

Public transport in the metropolitan area is cheap for Seniors. We are able to purchase a ticket for just over $3 that allows us to use bus, train and tram for 24hrs. We often have a spare one in our pocket so that if we fancy a cheap day out we do have the where with all to have one without using the car and pay for petrol as well as parking.

The Victorian government has also issued seniors a transport card that gives us access to free public transport on Sundays. Having that card is great as it means we can then take advantage of any free exhibitions in the City on Sundays giving us a very cheap day out.

The other is that my bank also has concessions for seniors – I don’t pay bank fees, don’t have account fees, don’t have to have minimum balances in accounts, and can have unlimited transactions both in the bank, at the ATM and on the Internet.

Because of this I opened several savings accounts and use them like the old envelope system. We use one to deposit our income for the month and then from the comfort of my house using the Internet I transfer various amounts into the other accounts to be used when necessary. We are now on a set income from various sources so have a good idea of what our income will be each month and as we have always worked to some sort of a budget it was quite easy to work out what we needed to allocate each month for different ‘things’

What’s left in that account after the transfers are made is used for regular monthly commitments and food. Any surplus at the end of the month goes into another savings account for lovely things like theatre tickets :)

DH likes to buy a beer at the golf club now and again so withdraws a set amount to have in his pocket – like children and their pocket money I tell him - once its gone its gone! He laughs and often has some left to carry over the next month.

Utilities, (gas electricity water rates and house phone) share an account and these are paid bimonthly or quarterly. By moving the money out of the main one into this one I have never had to worry where the payment is coming from. I use another for those large annual payments like car rego and insurances which we used to pay by the month but when the insurance companies upped the extra charges they put on for direct debits I decided to pay in full one year from the reserve we had and then save during the year.

Because our visa cards from this bank are linked to a saving account we have a really low yearly fee, which I don’t mind paying as it can then be used as a debit card and allows us access to cash if we need it. It means we can get cash from the bank, ATM, supermarket and even from selected ATMs overseas.

As I’m not good if I have money in my pocket – I spend it - we have another banks visa card with points attached (transferred regularly to our Qantas FF account and used when necessary) which we use for purchases and bills during the month. I check regularly to see what’s been recorded and then can pay online direct from the relevant account as the month goes by and that way there’s only a small amount to pay when the statement comes in. Haven’t paid interest for many a year.

There’s one account called Grandchildren, we have quite a few so have to put a bit aside each month for birthdays and Christmas and then there’s another for Holidays, which gets a regular payment each month.

Yes for some it could be a problem but for me it keeps me in touch with our spending and cash out of my pocket where it would be frittered away wily nily.

Anyway my friend listened and said she remembered the envelopes her Mother used and she thought it was a bit of a palaver every payday and it was so awfully old fashioned.

I know I would rather use my system, in fact any system, than have to try to divi up everything from one pot!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Knitted slippers

Quite a while ago a friend of mine passed on a really easy pattern for knitted slippers and I have been busy using up lots of odd balls of wool from my pile.

The grandchildren love them and as well as the ones they have at home I've a pile at the door ready for them to use during the winter when their shoes are dirty.

For some reason all the time I've been knitting these I have felt really comfortable and had no strange feelings about doing something that isn't quite the norm at the moment here in Australia.

Now I know why - I found this picture in a bundle that arrived from my sister in England the other day.

I've only copied part of the photo but it shows me at about six and a half just after the war in England and guess what I am wearing?

Click on the picture and have a look

Yes Knitted Slippers :)))